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Automated packaging approach makes staff happy

29 March 2019

Migration from manual handling practices and the introduction of modern packaging technology has brought benefits for French meat processor, Sicarev and its staff. 

A combination of dated operational equipment and practice, with a heavy reliance on manual handling, had started to impact the workforce at the company’s Roanne facility. This resulted in a higher staff turnover and difficulties in attracting new employees. 

Philippe Fénéon, site director at Sicarev takes up the story: “The installation was old and not very user-friendly. Staff faced cold, wet conditions with heavy carcass handling. We took the view that our primary focus had to be with the employee. We knew that if we created the right environment we could build loyalty and improve recruitment. Ultimately, that would enable us to deliver better operational efficiency, but we had to get the foundations right.” 

To meet its objective, Sicarev started a programme of works to move from manual operation to a modern, fully automated approach. 

The transformation of the packaging line has enabled the redistribution of production line operatives, reducing the physical demands of the job – most noticeably in the burden of manual handling, which was reduced by two-thirds. 

Single movements were reduced from five to two steps. Heavy work was reduced from an operator carrying six tons a day to two tons, leading to less sick leave and increased staff reliability. 

“Our new packaging solution, which has been delivered by Sealed Air, not only greatly eases the daily work of our operators but also brings significant improvements from loading to sorting after shrink, said Fénéon.

The installation comprises two BLM02 bag loading modules each coupled to two VS95TS vacuum machines both terminating in a STE98-800 shrink unit and EOL automatic product sorting after shrink module. Products are automatically transferred from bag loading to packaging units by two intelligent TRF conveyors. 

The line has already delivered a 40% improvement in packaging productivity and upgrades have also been achieved in data management. While product data was already collected through Sealed Air’s PakFormance platform, since the installation it has been possible to optimise packaging line performances further. 

“The installation has been designed to incorporate SEE Smart Service Link which further measures results and predict threats to quality and maintenance needs. This makes a transition to this connected service very easy,” said Fénéon.

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